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Royal Thai and U.S. Marines Reunite for Joint CBRN Training

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More than 50 Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) service members from the Royal Thai Navy, Marines, Airforce and 19 U.S. Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) reunited and exchanged CBRN knowledge and tactics, Feb. 3-10, as part of Cobra Gold 2010 (CG ’10).

 “This was our second year working together,” said Staff Sgt. Marco Flores, 31st MEU CBRN chief.

The training began with Royal Thai service members attending classroom instruction on proper equipment procedures, techniques for donning and clearing field protective masks.

“They have basic knowledge already since they have previously studied our doctrine, so when we taught these classes they grasped the concepts very quickly.” said Cpl. Matthew Davis, a CBRN specialist with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (BLT 2/7), 31st MEU.

Flight Sgt. 2nd Class Toucsskonn Kijkla, a Thai CBRN student, who also participated last year in the joint CBRN training said, “I've learned some of these things before, but it's always good to refresh my memory on nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.  I'm learning about new methods and equipment from the U.S. Marines.”

Cpl. Natasha Lussier, the CBRN chief for Combat Logistics Battalion 31, was amazed by the students’ enthusiasm during the class and was grateful to provide the training.  She noted, “They were anxious to participate and volunteered for the (practical application opportunities) every chance they had.  It was a great experience.”

During the six-day training evolution, Royal Thai and U.S. service members not only demonstrated their abilities and methods on decontaminate equipment and personnel, but were able to identify areas of improvement.

Royal Thai Navy Capt. Taewan Sucharitwongsanonf, a staff member of Thailand’s Naval Science Department said, “We are able to share our knowledge with one another, and this training has allowed us to have a better idea of what we need to improve.”  He also added, “Training opportunities like this can only help us get better.”

Chief Warrant Officer, Alexsander Hernandez, 31stMEU CBRN officer, noted that the training was beneficial and uplifting to both sides because it was used as a training reinforcement tool that demonstrates that countries with different cultures can work together using similar procedures and equipment that fits their needs.

Flores added, “Everyone is always able to walk away with something new after these training opportunities.”

The CBRN defense training is one of many bilateral training events that took place throughout Thailand during Cobra Gold ’10.